Matt Holliday cleared to swing a bat, Cardinals “optimistic” about his status

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Remember how we heard yesterday that Matt Holliday was considered “doubtful” to return this season? Well, don’t count him out yet.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Matt Holliday was cleared to swing a bat off a tee this afternoon.

“Over the last 48 hours, we are a little more optimistic,” Mozeliak told the media this afternoon. “The easiest way to think about it is as a day-to-day progression. He’s been cleared to swing the bat.”

Holliday hasn’t played since last Tuesday due to inflammation in his right middle finger. Mozeliak said there has been some “reduction” in the inflammation, leading to increased “optimism” that he will be available at some point during the final week of the regular season.

Holliday, 31, is batting .295/.388/.528 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI and a .915 OPS over 503 plate appearances this season. Allen Craig will continue to play left field for now as the Cardinals attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.